By Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2021

HELENA, Ala. (AP) - Charles “Sonny” Penhale, who served as mayor of Helena for 44 years, has died at the age of 89.

The city announced Penhale’s death on Thursday, though the cause was not immediately clear, reported.

Penhale served as mayor from 1968 until 2012 - the longest tenure in the office in the city’s history.

Helena had a population of roughly 1,100 people around the time Penhale first became mayor. That number climbed to 17,000 by the time he left office.

Penhale oversaw construction of the city’s sewer system. Helena’s sports complex - Sonny Penhale Park - was named after him.

Helena City Council President Hewy Woodman said Penhale’s death was a huge loss for Helena.

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